Rape

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines rape as: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

If you or a friend has been raped it is important that you tell someone you trust and seek immediate medical attention.

Not sure if you were raped?

Types of Rape:

Stranger Rape – According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAIIN) this is divided into three main categories.

  1. Blitz sexual assault– The perpetrator rapidly and brutally assaults the victim with no prior contact. Blitz assaults usually occur at night in a public place.
  2. Contact sexual assault– The suspect contacts the victim and tries to gain her or his trust and confidence before assaulting her or him. Contact perpetrators pick their victims in bars, lure them into their cars, or otherwise try to coerce the victim into a situation of sexual assault.
  3. Home invasion sexual assault– When a stranger breaks into the victim’s home to commit the assault.

Date Rape/Acquaintance Rape – forced sex occurring between two people who know each other. About half of all rape victims know their perpetrators.

Drugs and/or alcohol are often involved in these situations… for example, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is known as a “date rape drug” or “roofies”. This drug can easily be mixed in a victim’s drink and can cause them to “black out”. It can also cause blurred vision, create a feeling of being paralyzed, and memory loss.

Partner Rape – forced sex inflicted by your partner or significant other. This type of rape can involve physical or emotional abuse as well.

What do I do if I was raped?

  1. Don’t blame yourself – this was not your fault. No one has the right to have sex with you without your consent in any place, at any time, and in any situation.
  2. Get medical care – Seek a trained medical doctor immediately following this situation.
    • You can go directly to an emergency room or a rape crisis center in your area.
    • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center  1-800-841-8371 hotline
    • Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE.
      This phone number will connect you with a representative that is part of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). This representative will answer any questions you may have and will direct you what to do and where to go for help. The call you make remains anonymous and confidential. Click here for more information
    • Use the RAIINN online hotline.
      Don’t want to converse with someone on the phone? Try their online hotline…similar to texting or instant messaging, you can type on your phone and get the same answers and advice from a representative. To use the online hotline, click here
    • It is important to avoid changing your clothes, showering, or washing. These actions may wash away evidence of the sexual assault or inflicted injury and may interfere with how the medical doctor decides to treat you. A doctor or nurse will examine you, perform various STD checks, and in some cases supply you with emergency contraception. If you are unable or unwilling to see a doctor right away, it is still extremely important to get checked when you can. About the medical exam
  3. Report the incident – Although you are legally not required to report rape or sexual assault to the police, it is highly recommended that you do. RAINN offers this statement: “Reporting to the police is the key to preventing sexual assault: every time we lock up a rapist, we’re preventing him or her from committing another attack. It’s the most effective tool that exists to prevent future rapes. In the end, though, whether or not to report is your decision to make.”
    • If you do decide you want to report a rape begin by calling 911 and talking to the police about actions you need to take. If you have gone to a doctor’s office or emergency room, you can ask a doctor or nurse to report the rape for you.
    • More information about reporting
  4. Confront your feelings – Rape is not only a violation of your physical body, but of your emotions as well. You may feel a range of emotions including angry, sad, scared, hopeless, alone, embarrassed, confused etc. When these feelings have an effect on your your everyday life (trouble eating or sleeping, lack of energy, trouble concentrating) this is called rape trauma syndrome. Seeing a trained professional to talk to or joining a support group can be very effective as a treatment for this situation.